His old Labour credentials once made him indispensable, but now the Deputy Prime Minister's star is waning. What went wrong?
"Prescott hits the buffers," screams the Sun, with a prediction that the Deputy Prime Minister, the hero of old Labour, will be demoted to the Cabinet Office to serve out his sunset years before being booted upstairs to the Lords. It was hardly the Sun's greatest scoop -- it has been Westminster gossip for months that John Prescott will leave the unwieldy Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (DETR) after the election. But is it really the end for him? And if so, how has Labour's living, breathing representative of the working classes become so expendable? Remember, this was the man who rescued John Smith from a crushing defeat over one member, one vote at the party conference. This was the man whose name on Tony Blair's leadership ticket pushed Blair over the finishing line. So where's the payback now?
Prescott himself would put it differently. After four years running a big spending department, he wants to put his experience of co-ordinating different strands of policy to use in a revamped Cabinet Office -- a Prime Minister's Office in all but name. He sees the need for heads to be banged together, and he won't shirk from banging them. But is he really, as some MPs and commentators are saying, a busted flush?
The case for Prescott is …